VR Series: Observer Software Review

Windows Operating Systems: Observer I & II (v2.37) are compliant with the following Microsoft Windows operating systems: 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, VISTA, Windows 7 Home & Professional (32 & 64 bit); Observer I & II v2.32 and earlier versions are not VISTA/Windows 7 compliant.


Observer I & Observer II PC software guide

 

Observer I & II software are used in conjunction with the VR Series Paperless Recorders to archive, analyze measured data from the recorder and to do recorder configuration through PC.  Note: Historical Data files are stored in a binary encrypted proprietary file format and can only be viewed using Observer software. Observer software allows viewing, printing, etc., of various display as well as export in .csv format.

 

This is simple guide for PC software.  After completing the Set up procedure the user may view HELP and use it as an instruction manual.

  Software: These programs are Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 Home & Professional (32 & 84 bit) compatible.  

- Hardware requirements are shown below.

PC with Minimum 200 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM100 MB free space in the hard disk.RS 232 serial port/ Network adopter RJ 45 female/ USB port and CF reader

 Their different applications are:

 

VR Series without communication:     Observer I: Basic software is supplied with each recorder to view measured data and VR Series configuration read via CF card.

 

VR Series with communication:          Observer II: Extensive software is an optional software package with the same features as Observer I and in addition allows:

  • Communicate over Ethernet or optional RS/232/422/485 Modbus
  • Import Real Time Data from VR Series over Ethernet or RS232/422/485 Modbus

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Observer I contains two components

                                                                    

 

Configuration:  The user may receive configuration from the recorder via CF card, change recorder configuration on PC and send modified configuration back to the recorder via CF card.  Historical Viewer:  Receives and views historical data stored by the recorder and Dumped to the CF card,

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Observer II contains three components

                                                            

 The Configuration and Historical Viewer are the same as described in Observer I. However Observer II allows data dump via CF card as with Observer I OR via Observer II with Ethernet or optional RS232/422/485.

 

Real-time Viewer: Receives and views real-time data measured by the recorder.  When setting up a new project in Real-time Viewer, click the icon "Configuration data" and do the configuration for real-time viewing on the PC.   When the recorder is communicating with a PC via Ethernet or RS-232/422/485, Observer II is able to monitor real-time measured data "Received" from the recorder. The real-time measured data can be viewed in different formats: digital, trend, bar plus Event/Alarm list can be displayed in individually or in groups.   While running Real-Time Viewer the Trend view can be configured for various time periods. Changing trend view time periods is easy and all data since Observer II began communicating with recorder is available ĘC dependent upon PC memory.

 

Note:

 

Ethernet is the standard communication with this instrument.  To enable Ethernet functions, it is required to order the extensive software Observer II.

  • The configuration of Real-time Viewer is set in the PC. This is different from the configuration of Historical Viewer, which is the same as the recorder [trend view time setup].
  • With Observer II it is required to key in IP address of recorder.  This IP address can be found in the manual 4.8 System Info mode under Configuration.

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Physical connection between VR Series and PC running Observer I or II

 

Three options are available

 

  1. CF card
  2. Ethernet
  3. RS 232

A 32MB CF card is supplied as standard with the recorder with 156MB & 1GB optional. Standard Ethernet port (RJ 45 female) shall be available at the recorder. RS 232/ RS485 is offered as an option.

 

                                 When launching Observer the type of communication to be used must be selected

 

                                             

 

CF Card (Observer I or II)

Historical Data as well as VR Series configuration may be stored on the supplied CF card.

The CF card is the only method of transferring data when using Observer I software. With Observer II software data may be transferred via the CF card, Ethernet or optional RS232/485.

 

 

Ethernet Configuration (Observer II)

It is possible to use PC software Observer II for data logging from multiple units of recorders connected on standard Ethernet.

Total number of devices that can be connected depends on the hardware interface selected for the application.

For example, 255 hardware devices can be connected on Ethernet. Maximum 1024 tags can be configured at Observer II for data logging, archiving and analysis. The tags cover AI, Math, DI, DO, Counter & Totalizer.

 

RS 232/485 Configuration (Observer II)

It is possible to use PC software Observer II for data logging from multiple VR Series recorders connected on network RS 485.

Total number of devices that can be connected depends on the hardware interface selected for the application.

For example, 247 hardware devices can be configured on RS 485. Maximum 1024 tags can be configured at Observer software for data logging, archiving and analysis. The tags cover AI, Math, DI, DO, Counter & Totalizer.

Refer to the instruction manual for more information on the physical connection of VR Series to PC running Observer I or II software; details on project names, ethernet settings and comm ports for RS232, etc.. VR18 Manual V2.31 Feb-2007.pdf [2.34MB]

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VR Series Configuration via Observer Software

When using Observer software you must start with a Configuration file by first downloading a unit configuration, i.e. factory default settings directly to a CF card and then read same from a PC running Observer. Downloading a configuration directly from the target VR18 is important as the available hardware is included in it's configuration file.

If using Observer II software use either the above procedure with a CF card or communicate directly with the VR18 through Ethernet or optional RS232/485 Modbus.

Refer to the instruction manual for a step by step procedure to create a configuration project, open an existing project, etc.

Once a configuration project is active, the Observer configuration screens are nearly identical to those if configuration was being done at the unit itself. For more information refer to the manual and/or to VR Series Configuration.htm and shown below are sample input configuration screens.

            

   

Edit configuration and "save as" a new project file. This file is copied to the CF card and manually uploaded to the VR18 or if using Observer II software with Ethernet or RS232/485 Modbus, upload directly to the VR18.

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Historical Viewer with Observer Software

The Historical Data is saved in a binary encrypted proprietary file format. To view, print, archive and/or export in a .csv format Observer I or II software must be used.

The Historical Data files must first be moved to either the CF card (Dump function) or if using Observer II software with Ethernet or optional RS232/485 Modbus directly to PC. If using the CF card the VR18 configuration file must also have been saved to the CF card.

Refer to the instruction manual for detail instructions on opening the data file. Once open the data may be viewed, printed, etc. Shown below is a typical screen depiction. 

Screen easily configured for: background white or black, trend lines vertical or horizontal, one to 6 channels, zoom time, search be time, by alarm/event, etc.

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Real Time Viewer via Observer II Software

As described above under "Observer II 3 Components" Observer may be connected up to 255 VR18's with Ethernet & 247 connected with RS232/485 Modbus. In both cases a maximum of 1024 tags may be monitored from one PC.

The Real Time Viewer feature allows the Real Time values of a specific VR18's to be shown on the PC. A mix of displays may be shown or just one type of display; Event/Alarm list, Bar Graph, Digital or Trend Views. Shown below is a mix of all 4 displays depicted on a PC monitor.

The Trend Views configuration is similar to that on the VR18 and will store data in the PC's RAM for an extended period to allow virtually unlimited review since Observer began communication with a specific unit.

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Real Time Viewer Screen Configuration vs. VR Series Configuration

Real Time Viewer Configuration allows the Viewer to have a redefined and independent configuration of the VR18 itself.

The screen shown below is how configuration can be changed and is referred to in the next section on e-mail as an action.

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Email as Action (Job or Alarm)

Double click on channel in the above spreadsheet to show the following Modify tag data with email configuration.

If auto-update option is selected in modify tag data as shown in following screen, then all the settings done at the channel for events will appear here. If it is not selected, then user can configure manually for different set points in order to generating alarm emails.

Select "Send email" option for the job as shown above.

 

The Email on event will be received like this,

Type: HiAlarm
Source: AI1
ActiveTime: 12/12/20059:49:59AM
Value: 23.8

Option: Three options of Share, Email and Communication are to be defined. It is mainly to set email configuration and real time log speed.

Share: Share/do not share options are available for user selection. If share option is selected, then Observer data available in the computer can be shared from other computers. On selection of the share data, shared folder will be created in C:\Observer.

For example, you have one recorder and wish to analyze historical data at different computer. While opening project in the second computer, directly link to the project file available under C:\Observer through network configuration. This will minimize the data transfer between recorder and the computers and make it more efficient by using available resources through network configurations.

 

Communication: It is used to set data display time for Real-Time Viewer.  User can select one from the following for real time monitoring.

For example, if recorder and Observer are located at different locations connected through Ethernet across different gateways, this option is used to set the communication time. When 60 S is selected Observer will exchange data with the recorder every 60 seconds. When recorder and Observer are separated in far distance, it is preferable to use Ethernet option so that it can have better data transfer rate for communication.

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DDE dynamic data exchange

 

Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is a standard inter-application communication protocol built into Microsoft Windows operating systems and supported by many applications that run under Windows. DDE takes data from one application and gives it to another application. It allows Windows programs that support DDE to exchange data between themselves.

Data from the Observer II software can be exchanged with Excel on DDE link.

 

Please note that it is not possible to exchange data directly from the recorder to third party applications like Excel. Third party applications running under Windows and set to communicate with DDE link can receive data through the DDE link if so configured. After review DDE issues refer to "DDE with third party applications" below and/or instruction manual.

 

Once Observer II software is installed with real timer viewer and configured properly in PC, then it is possible to exchange data between Observer software and Excel using DDE link. Refer to VR18 instruction manual for more information.

DDE with third party applications 

Once the data is available at Excel at particular cell, then data can be exchanged with the third party applications like PLC, SCADA, and Visual Basic etc.

 

If data is to be exchanged with PLC, then PLC programmer can write Visual basic macro in Excel from the following link

 

Excel - Tools - macro

 

For source code examples PLC programmer may check the PLC manuals for DDE sample macros.

 

It is also possible to exchange data from recorder to third party SCADA applications [Wonderware«] through DDE.

 

Refer to VR06 or VR18 instruction manuals for examples of DDE communication. Links to download manuals below.

 

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VR Series Product Brochures Manuals & Price Sheets

VR18_Brochure_v2.37_November-2011.pdf

VR18_Manual_V2.37_November-2011.pdf

 

VR06_Brochure_v2.37_November-2011.pdf

VR06_Manual_V2.37_November-2011.pdf

 

VR Series_NEMA_4_Brochure_Feb-2007.pdf

 

VR Series Price Sheet.pdf

 

Additional Information

VR06-18 Guidelines 21CFR part 11.pdf

VR06-18: Series FAQ's.pdf [40KB]

VR06-18: Series 2-Year Warranty Statement.pdf [13KB]

VR06-18: Firmware Update Sheet.pdf

VR06-18: CF Card Memory Calculations.zip

VR06-18: Reset to Factory Default 

VR06-18: Modbus Parameters 

UL Agency.pdf

CSA Agency.pdf

CE Conformity.pdf

 

Return To:

VR06-18: Recorder Home Page.htm

VR06-18: Sample Screen Display & Operational Review.htm

VR06-18: Plug & Play I/O.htm

VR06-18: Event & Alarm Description.htm

VR06-18: Installation: Panel or Bench Top Mounting.htm

VR06-18: Configuration.htm

VR06-18: Special Features: Math, Totalize, etc.htm

VR06-18: Observer Software Review.htm

VR06-18: Technical Support Documentation.htm

VR06-18: Download Firmware and Observer Software.htm

VR06-18: Security; CFR21 Part 11 Features.htm

 

Future Design Controls 888.751.5444 csr@futuredesigncontrols.com